Ford Motor Co. has shared its intent to launch seven fully electric vehicles in Europe, including a battery-electric variant of the Puma subcompact crossover, its best-selling (and looking) passenger car for the market. Though the first EV in its new product offensive will be a midsize crossover helping Blue Oval deliver on a previous promise to manufacture electric vehicles in Cologne, Germany.
The unit is said to capitalize on Ford’s partnership with Volkswagen Group by leaning on the latter entity’s MEB platform that already underpins VW’s ID products and Audi’s e-tron vehicles. Driving range is estimated at 311 miles per charge, with the company anticipating a formal debut later this year.
Just about every automaker has committed itself to going “all-electric” at some point in the next decade, and whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing, it means that the internal combustion engine (“ICE”, for the purposes of this article) is dead tech walking. Death and discontinuation are usually one-way tickets to the scrap heap for cars – but some cars are different. Some cars are special, and being made rare or obsolete just makes them more appealing.
The Great Jack Baruth once called this The Grand National Problem, and I think there are a few ICE cars out there that will be more appealing to car guys and gals than others in 20- or 30-years’ time. As such, I’ve taken some time to look at the automotive class of 2022 and pick my 5 future ICE Age Classics. Enjoy!
1972 ended up being the final year for the postwar era of mainstream American car shoppers buying big, cheap sedans with few misgivings about fuel economy (though, if you want to get picky about it, you could say the 1973 Oil Crisis began while 1974 models were already in showrooms). Full-sized Fords sold very well in 1972, with close to a half-million Customs, Galaxies, and LTDs sold that year (plus better than 75,000 units of the Marquis and Monterey), and these cars were commonplace on American roads well into the 1990s. Today, the 1971-1972 big Fords and their distinctive snouts have all but disappeared, so I was happy to find this extremely green example in a Denver-area yard last month.
Remember just a few days ago when Ford CEO Jim Farley said they had “no plans to spin off our electric business or our ICE business,” during a finance call with investors?
Yeah. Forget all that. The company announced this morning they are creating distinct electric vehicle and internal combustion businesses, one which is poised to “compete and win” against both new EV competitors and established automakers.
Volkswagen Group has stalled production in Germany, citing an inability to obtain sufficient parts from Ukraine. The automaker reportedly is lacking sufficient electrical components for its Zwickau-Mosel plant and the Dresden-based “Transparent Factory” — both of which are responsible for manufacturing VW and Audi-branded electric vehicles.
While the automaker declined to identify any specific suppliers, it said that Zwickau-Mosel will be down for at least four days as the Dresden facility will only need three days of downtime. That should put them both back online by the end of the week. But that’s hardly a guarantee and problems abound elsewhere, some of which are starting to feel borderline ordinary, as the industry continues reinventing itself.
Speculators on Wall Street (where else?) have been yammering about the possibility of Ford Motor Company creating a second company for its moving-at-light-speed EV business. To that end, CEO Jim Farley had one thing to say on Wednesday:
“We have no plans to spin off our electric business or our ICE business,” he told people assembled on a finance call.
If any readers have a certain spec of Blue Oval workhorse in their fleet, they best pay attention to a recent recall from Ford. The company is recalling 223,628 Super Duty pickups to deal with an issue of faulty powertrain components. At fault are driveshafts that can apparently fracture under a specific set of conditions.
Ford has announced that the Raptor Ranger will become a global model this week, furnishing the relevant specifications while CEO Jim Farley scheduled its arrival in the United States for 2023.
While that doesn’t give us specific details for the version that’ll be hitting our market next year, nobody is expecting massive changes between regions. Our Raptor Ranger will likely utilize the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 that’s inside the Bronco Raptor. That’s a lovely 392 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, with numbers being subject to change to appease local regulators. Though the pickup’s 10-speed automatic and standard four-wheel drive (with a two-speed transfer case and front and rear locking differentials) should persist regardless of whatever the Environmental Protection Agency says it needs.
If you like your off-roading with a side of swamp, Ford has created a Bronco variant just for you. Called the Everglades (presumably, Bronco Bog and Bayou didn’t track too well in focus groups), it comes standard with a snorkel to help with water crossings and integrated Warn winch to haul you out of the mire.
Or, to simply show off at the trailhead. Your call.
You’re probably well acquainted with dealer markups by now. Supply shortages created during the pandemic have left the world with fewer automobiles and car dealerships are taking full advantage of the elevated demand. As you might have expected, this trend resulted in plenty of people overpaying or becoming cautious of a market they now see as wildly predatory.
Car manufacturers have begun asking dealerships to take it easy on the price gouging. General Motors made its plea last week and Ford has followed up by reiterating its own concerns during the company’s Q4 2021 earnings report. The Oval is worried that dealer markups are tainting its relationship with customers, with top executives making casual references to the trend back in November. Ford CEO Jim Farley is now telling dealers that they need to cut it out lest they be punished by the manufacturer.
Those in the Glass House have a deep well of history from which to draw, perfect for crafting low-volume special editions for their raciest machines. This time around, Ford is giving a nod to its 1966 lightweight experimental prototypes, showing up at the Chicago Auto Show in the form of a natty red Ford GT supercar.
Hands up if you’ve ever wrestled with keeping cargo from moving about the bed of a pickup truck. Whether it’s thanks to an oddly-sized piece of kit or something with few tie-down points, trying to safely secure all items aft of the cab can be a trial, with enough rope strung around to trip up at least half of Cirque du Soliel.
Hey, if you can’t tie knots – tie lots.
Moldy old dad jokes aside, Ford has patented a neat take on cargo management. Their idea? A whole bunch of magnets.
It’s a little early in the year to say anything definitive about 2022 vehicle volumes, however, the automotive industry has been signaling that production numbers should begin to rise in the coming months. While that sentence should be cause for a sigh of relief, there are parts of the industry that might not feel as good about it as you probably do.
With supply chain problems having drastically limited vehicle production during the pandemic, many dealers opted to price their goods well above anything that could be considered normal. This worked out poorly for many of the smaller outfits as larger retailers enjoyed record-breaking profits in 2021. Some manufacturers also benefited financially, as the chip shortage allowed them to prioritize their highest-margin products. Unfortunately for them, 2022 is likely to bring affordable vehicles back into play and gradually pull pricing closer to something approaching normality.
The used car market may be red hot, but Ford seems to be intent on pouring a bunch of blue all over the place. Starting next month, certain second-hand vehicles hawked by Ford stores will qualify for a 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee.
Or perhaps some dealers are feeling the heat from places like Carvana. That’s up for debate.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block proposed OSHA regulations backed by the Biden administration, it was assumed that automakers would quickly begin weighing in on vaccine rules now that there would be no federal obligation. However, they’ve actually been keeping quiet on the matter, with Stellantis being the first manufacturer to walk back previous requirements.
While the automaker had previously been working up to companywide vaccine mandates, it pushed back its vaccine deadline for early January. This week, Stellantis confirmed that it will be abandoning the scheme entirely after suggesting that the existing compliance rates were sufficient. Though something tells me that executives have become aware of the swelling pushback against COVID restrictions and became concerned with the optics.
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- Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
- Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
- SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
- Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
- Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?